“Books are portals to all kinds of memories—but only if I can remember that I read them.”
That line comes from the final essay in my book I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. As a rule, I’d rather be reading than recording what I’m reading—but I’ve come to believe a good reading record is an indispensable tool of a vibrant reading life. Readers, if you want to improve your reading life, you need to remember what you’ve read—and that means you need to track your books!
Many of you have your own systems to track your reading, and that is fantastic. If you’ve got a good thing going, I don’t want to mess with it. But many of you are still on the lookout for a method and that works for you, and that’s why I created this printable journal.
While Goodreads is nice, I have a soft spot in my heart for paper. I like to touch, browse, and jot notes in the margins. Besides, there’s nothing worse than intending to read, grabbing your phone or your laptop to log the book you’re about to start, and falling down the social media rabbit hole. 20 minutes later you forgot why you got online in the first place—and you forgot all about your book. (That can’t be just me.)
That’s why I love analog. There are great reading journals on the market (this is my favorite), but ready-made journals lack flexibility. Blank books are nice, but some of you need a template to get started. We released the first version of our printable journal way back in 2015, and have just given it a much-needed update.
Today I’m delighted to share the completely updated MMD printable reading journal.
Here’s what you’ll find in the reading journal:
• printing instructions and welcome
• a “To Be Read” list
• a “books I abandoned” list
• a two-page book entry spreads, to record thoughts, quotes, and opinions at length about each title
• 3-per-page book entry pages, for when you want to remember you read a book but don’t want to journal about it
• 7 pages of book lists and reading inspiration
• a form for note-taking
• lots of bookish quotes for your enjoyment
This journal is designed to be flexible. Print all the pages, or just the ones that interest you. Print as many or as few of each layout as you desire. If you love to take notes print plenty of notes pages.
Here’s how to use it:
1. Check your inbox. The journal is free to all subscribers (blog or newsletter). All current subscribers should have a journal ready and waiting for them; the link was in last night’s newsletter. Not a subscriber? Sign up here.
2. Download the journal. (I recommend downloading it instead of printing from a preview pane.)
3. Print the journal (or selected pages, as you choose). The PDF is designed for single-sided printing. Print in color or black and white.
4. You can leave the journal full size (8.5 x 11), but I cut mine in half to create a 5.5 x 8.5 journal. (I love the deckle-edge effect I got from cutting the pages in half.)
5. To finish the reading journal, either:
• Hole punch it and place it in a 3-ring binder. I love the binder option because you can easily add and remove pages and dividers. (My Avery polka dot binder is from Target: this is the same binder in a pretty floral design. These are the dividers shown.)
• Have it spiral-bound at an office supply store. Kinko’s did mine for $3.99. (They also printed my cover page in full color; I used heavy cardstock for the front and back covers.) The spiral-bound version looks terrific and is more compact, but it’s not as flexible.
If you haven’t subscribed, you can sign up for my newsletter and get your reading journal here.
I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback on this new journal. Thanks for subscribing, using, and sharing!